'Tis the season to be jolly..." Well, maybe not. Many people find the holiday season (October through early January) very stressful for a host of reasons--financial, emotional, and physical. I'm about 90% hermit so the hustle-bustle of shoppers, chirpy carols and awful traffic really leave me less than jolly. Over the years I've developed a few strategies to help me stay loose and relaxed.
1) Get enough sleep. I can already hear those of you who know how late I stay up, howling in protest. But the secret isn't how late I stay up--its how late I sleep in. Every night, with few rare exceptions, I sleep seven and a half to eight hours. Every night. I have no children, no outside job, and no commitments except to myself. I've reached the time in my life when I can do pretty much whatever I need to do. I need sleep.
2) Eat right. The reason so many people are jolly at Christmas is because they're on a sugar high. Realllly high. I seriously try to stick to a sensible eating plan as much as possible during the season--particularly when I'm out of the apartment for the day. Don't skip lunch. Don't munch on something inappropriate because I'm hungry. Often women (yes, females!) forget to eat. Don't.
3) Stop. Every day stop whatever you're doing for twenty minutes. Sit down. Put your feet up. Close your eyes. Breathe. It would be really cool if you could do this when no one is home and the television/radio is off. Listen to the silence and remember that it will come back as soon as the holidays are over.
4) If possible (due to weather) go for a short walk. No, I'm not advocating a hike. But a walk around the block or parking lot can be enough to get a breath of fresh air and some sunshine. Fifteen minutes of sunshine everyday can help mitigate the effects of SADS. Also, it helps boost your vitamin D. Most folks are short on that handy vitamin.
5) Pray/meditate every evening. Before you go to sleep take time to be thankful for all the things that went right during the day. Start with the fact that you woke up that morning. It's not guaranteed that you will. Then go through the day. Be thankful that you can get out of bed. Not everyone can. Can you see? Hear? Feel? Then you are blessed. Be thankful for the safety of your family. See? When you spend time each evening reminding yourself how blessed you are, things aren't nearly as stressful. Oh yeah... you'll sleep better.
This is my recipe for less stress. I'm sure my blogmates will have more terrific suggestions. So stop back by each day. In the meantime, please share your tips!